Science News This Week:
1) Injected bacteria shrink tumors in rats, dogs and humans:
A modified version of the Clostridium novyi (C. novyi-NT) bacterium can produce a strong and precisely targeted anti-tumor response in rats, dogs and now humans, according to a new report from Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center researchers. In its natural form, C. novyi is found in the soil and, in certain cases, can cause tissue-damaging infection in cattle, sheep and humans. The microbe thrives only in oxygen-poor environments, which makes it a targeted means of destroying oxygen-starved cells in tumors that are difficult to treat with chemotherapy and radiation. The Johns Hopkins team removed one of the bacteria's toxin-producing genes to make it safer for therapeutic use.
For the study, the researchers tested direct-tumor injection of the C. novyi-NT spores in 16 pet dogs that were being treated for naturally occurring tumors. Six of the dogs had an anti-tumor response 21 days after their first treatment. Three of the six showed complete eradication of their tumors, and the length of the longest diameter of the tumor shrunk by at least 30 percent in the three other dogs.Most of the dogs experienced side effects typical of a bacterial infection, such as fever and tumor abscesses and inflammation, according to a report on the work published online Aug. 13 in Science Translational Medicine.
In a Phase I clinical trial of C. novyi-NT spores conducted at MD Anderson Cancer Center, a patient with an advanced soft tissue tumor in the abdomen received the spore injection directly into a metastatic tumor in her arm. The treatment significantly reduced the tumor in and around the bone. "She had a very vigorous inflammatory response and abscess formation," according to Nicholas Roberts, Vet.M.B., Ph.D. "But at the moment, we haven't treated enough people to be sure if the spectrum of responses that we see in dogs will truly recapitulate what we see in people.""One advantage of using bacteria to treat cancer is that you can modify these bacteria relatively easily, to equip them with other therapeutic agents, or make them less toxic as we have done here, " said Shibin Zhou, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of oncology at the Cancer Center. Zhou is also the director of experimental therapeutics at the Kimmel Cancer Center's Ludwig Center for Cancer Genetics and Therapeutics. He and colleagues at Johns Hopkins began exploring C. novyi's cancer-fighting potential more than a decade ago after studying hundred-year old accounts of an early immunotherapy called Coley toxins, which grew out of the observation that some cancer patients who contracted serious bacterial infections showed cancer remission.
The researchers focused on soft tissue tumors because "these tumors are often locally advanced, and they have spread into normal tissue," said Roberts, a Ludwig Center and Department of Pathology researcher. The bacteria cannot germinate in normal tissues and will only attack the oxygen-starved or hypoxic cells in the tumor and spare healthy tissue around the cancer.
Verena Staedtke, M.D., Ph.D., a Johns Hopkins neuro-oncology fellow, first tested the spore injection in rats with implanted brain tumors called gliomas. Microscopic evaluation of the tumors showed that the treatment killed tumor cells but spared healthy cells just a few micrometers away. The treatment also prolonged the rats' survival, with treated rats surviving an average of 33 days after the tumor was implanted, compared with an average of 18 days in rats that did not receive the C. noyvi-NT spore injection.
The researchers then extended their tests of the injection to dogs. "One of the reasons that we treated dogs with C. novyi-NT before people is because dogs can be a good guide to what may happen in people," Roberts said. The dog tumors share many genetic similarities with human tumors, he explained, and their tumors appeared spontaneously as they would in humans. Dogs are also treated with many of the same cancer drugs as humans and respond similarly.The dogs showed a variety of anti-tumor responses and inflammatory side effects.Zhou said that study of the C. novyi-NT spore injection in humans is ongoing, but the final results of their treatment are not yet available. "We expect that some patients will have a stronger response than others, but that's true of other therapies as well. Now, we want to know how well the patients can tolerate this kind of therapy."
It may be possible to combine traditional treatments like chemotherapy with the C. novyi-NT therapy, said Zhou, who added that the researchers have already studied these combinations in mice."Some of these traditional therapies are able to increase the hypoxic region in a tumor and would make the bacterial infection more potent and increase its anti-tumor efficiency," Staedtke suggested. "C. novyi-NT is an agent that could be combined with a multitude of chemotherapy agents or radiation."
"Another good thing about using bacteria as a therapeutic agent is that once they're infecting the tumor, they can induce a strong immune response against tumor cells themselves," Zhou said.Previous studies in mice, he noted, suggest that C. novyi-NT may help create a lingering immune response that fights metastatic tumors long after the initial bacterial treatment, but this effect remains to be seen in the dog and human studies.
2) Single gene controls jet lag:
Scientists at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have identified a gene that regulates sleep and wake rhythms. The discovery of the role of this gene, called Lhx1, provides scientists with a potential therapeutic target to help night-shift workers or jet lagged travelers adjust to time differences more quickly. The results, published in eLife, can point to treatment strategies for sleep problems caused by a variety of disorders."It's possible that the severity of many dementias comes from sleep disturbances," says Satchidananda Panda, a Salk associate professor who led the research team. "If we can restore normal sleep, we can address half of the problem."Every cell in the body has a "clock" -- an abundance of proteins that dip or rise rhythmically over approximately 24 hours. The master clock responsible for establishing these cyclic circadian rhythms and keeping all the body's cells in sync is the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), a small, densely packed region of about 20,000 neurons housed in the brain's hypothalamus.
More so than in other areas of the brain, the SCN's neurons are in close and constant communication with one another. This close interaction, combined with exposure to light and darkness through vision circuits, keeps this master clock in sync and allows people to stay on essentially the same schedule every day. The tight coupling of these cells also helps make them collectively resistant to change. Exposure to light resets less than half of the SCN cells, resulting in long periods of jet lag.
In the new study, researchers disrupted the light-dark cycles in mice and compared changes in the expression of thousands of genes in the SCN with other mouse tissues. They identified 213 gene expression changes that were unique to the SCN and narrowed in on 13 of these that coded for molecules that turn on and off other genes. Of those, only one was suppressed in response to light: Lhx1."No one had ever imagined that Lhx1 might be so intricately involved in SCN function," says Shubhroz Gill, a postdoctoral researcher and co-first author of the paper. Lhx1 is known for its role in neural development: it's so important, that mice without the gene do not survive. But this is the first time it has been identified as a master regulator of light-dark cycle genes.By recording electrical activity in the SCN of animals with reduced amounts of the Lhx1 protein, the researchers saw that the SCN neurons weren't in sync with one another, despite appearing rhythmic individually."It was all about communication-the neurons were not talking to each other without this molecule," says Ludovic Mure, a postdoctoral researcher and an author on the paper. A next step in the work will be to understand exactly how Lhx1 affects the expression of genes that creates this synchronicity.Studying a mouse version of jet lag-an 8-hour shift in their day-night cycle-the scientists found that those with little or no Lhx1 readjusted much faster to the shift than normal mice. This suggests that because these neurons are less in sync with one another, they are more easily able to shift to a new schedule, though it is difficult for them to maintain that schedule, Panda says.These mice also exhibited reduced activity of certain genes, including one that creates vasoactive intestinal peptide or Vip, a molecule that has important roles in development and as a hormone in the intestine and blood. In the brain, Vip affects cell communication, but nobody had known that Lhx1 regulated it until now, Panda says. Interestingly, the team also found that adding Vip restored cell synchrony in the SCN.
"This approach helped us to close that knowledge gap and show that Vip is a very important protein, at least for SCN," Panda says. "It can compensate for the loss of Lhx1."On the other hand, cutting back on Vip could be another way to treat jet lag. Vip could be an even easier drug target compared with Lhx1 because Vip is secreted from cells rather than inside cells, Panda says. "If we find a drug that will block the Vip receptor or somehow break down Vip, then maybe that will help us reset the clock much faster," he adds.
The new results take the group a step closer to their goal of creating cell regenerative therapies that restore the SCN and ameliorate sleep problems. The scientists have made their gene expression data available through a searchable web interface at http://scn.salk.edu, giving other researchers a handy way to explore the effect of light and dark in genes in the SCN and other tissues.
3) Molecular engineers record an electron's quantum behavior:
University of Chicago-led team of researchers has developed a technique to record the quantum mechanical behavior of an individual electron contained within a nanoscale defect in diamond. Their technique uses ultrafast pulses of laser light, both to control the defect's entire quantum state and observe how that single electron state changes over time. The work appears in this week's online Science Express and will be published in print later this month in Science.This research contributes to the emerging science of quantum information processing, which demands that science leave behind the unambiguous universe of traditional binary logic -- 0 or 1 -- and embrace the counterintuitive quantum world, in which electrons can be in many states at once.The team researched a quantum mechanical property of the electron known as spin. Much like conventional computers use the charge state of electrons to constitute bits of information, a quantum computer uses the spin state of an electron as its quantum bit, or qubit. The work could accelerate development of quantum computing devices, and the extra computing power that would come with them because it will be easier to identify materials that have appropriate quantum properties.
The spin system studied is known as the nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center, an atom-sized defect that occurs naturally in diamond, consisting of a nitrogen atom next to a vacant spot in the crystal lattice. "These defects have garnered great interest over the past decade, providing a test-bed system for developing semiconductor quantum bits as well as nanoscale sensors," said team leader David Awschalom, the Liew Family Professor of Molecular Engineering at UChicago. "Here, we were able to harness light to completely control the quantum state of this defect at extremely high speeds."
In this new technique, the researchers locate a single NV center and then illuminate it with a pair of extremely short pulses of laser light. Each pulse lasts less than a picosecond (or a millionth of a millionth of a second). The first pulse excites the quantum states of the defect-bound electron, which then change or evolve in characteristic ways. The second pulse stops that evolution, capturing a picture of the quantum state at that elapsed time.By progressively extending the elapsed time between the two pulses, the team creates a sequence of quantum-state snapshots -- a movie of how the quantum state changes in time. The elapsed time can be as short as femtoseconds (a billionth of a millionth of a second) or as long as nanoseconds (a thousandth of a millionth of a second). On the human scale, this range of time is like the difference between an hour and a century.
Having this vast range of timescales makes the technique especially valuable. The electron is susceptible and interacts with its complex local environment in many different ways, each with a characteristic timescale. Being able to test a wide range of these timescales gives a far more complete picture of the dynamics of the NV center than has been obtained previously.
"Our goal was to push the limits of quantum control in these remarkable defect systems," explained Lee Bassett, co-lead author of the paper and an assistant professor of electrical and systems engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, "but the technique also provides an exciting new measurement tool. By using pulses of light to direct the defect's quantum dynamics on super-short timescales, we can extract a wealth of information about the defect and its environment."
"It's quite a versatile technique, providing a full picture of the excited state of the quantum defect," said F. Joseph Heremans, a UChicago postdoctoral scholar, the other co-lead author on the paper. "Previous work on the nitrogen-vacancy center has hinted at some of these processes, but here, simply through the application of these ultrafast pulses, we get a much richer understanding of this quantum beast."
It's not just a matter of observation, though. "This technique also provide a means of control of the spin state -- an important precursor for any quantum information system," said Evelyn Hu, a professor of applied physics and electrical engineering at Harvard University, who is not connected with the new work.In addition, the method is not limited to investigating this particular defect. It could be applied to quantum states of matter in a host of materials and technologies, including many semiconductor materials. "You only have to be able to use light to transfer an electron between a ground state and an excited state," said Awschalom.Prof. Guido Burkard, theoretical physicist at the University of Konstanz and a co-author of the paper, remarked, "This technique offers a path toward understanding and controlling new materials at the atomic level."
Hu agrees that the technique opens many new avenues. "Each new system will pose new challenges to understanding the energy levels, local environments and other properties, but the general approach should provide an enormous step forward for the field," said Hu.In addition to researchers from UChicago's Institute for Molecular Engineering, the team included collaborators at the University of California, Santa Barbara (co-lead author Lee Bassett is now at the University of Pennsylvania), and the University of Konstanz, Germany.
4) Dust nabbed by spacecraft may be from outside the solar system:
Particles collected by Stardust probe could help untangle planetary ingredients. Microscopic grains of space dust captured by NASA’s Stardust spacecraft appear to have come from interstellar space. These fragile particles, perhaps the first directly captured from outside the solar system, could help researchers understand the building blocks of not only Earth and its siblings but also planets around other stars.
The sample — just seven particles — comes after years of collecting dust and more years of thousands of people analyzing the spacecraft’s take. “Any sane person asks: Why spend years doing this?” says Andrew Westphal, a planetary scientist at the University of California, Berkeley and a member of the Stardust team. “This is about our origin,” he says, “what materials formed the sun, planets and us.”
5) Plants may use newly discovered language to communicate, Virginia Tech scientist discovers:
A Virginia Tech scientist has discovered a potentially new form of plant communication, one that allows them to share an extraordinary amount of genetic information with one another. The finding by Jim Westwood, a professor of plant pathology, physiology, and weed science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, throws open the door to a new arena of science that explores how plants communicate with each other on a molecular level. It also gives scientists new insight into ways to fight parasitic weeds that wreak havoc on food crops in some of the poorest parts of the world.
His findings were published on Aug. 15 in the journal Science."The discovery of this novel form of inter-organism communication shows that this is happening a lot more than any one has previously realized," said Westwood, who is an affiliated researcher with the Fralin Life Science Institute. "Now that we have found that they are sharing all this information, the next question is, 'What exactly are they telling each other?'."Westwood examined the relationship between a parasitic plant, dodder, and two host plants, Arabidopsis and tomatoes. In order to suck the moisture and nutrients out of the host plants, dodder uses an appendage called a haustorium to penetrate the plant. Westwood has previously broken new ground when he found that during this parasitic interaction, there is a transport of RNA between the two species. RNA translates information passed down from DNA, which is an organism's blueprint.
His new work expands this scope of this exchange and examines the mRNA, or messenger RNA, which sends messages within cells telling them which actions to take, such as which proteins to code. It was thought that mRNA was very fragile and short-lived, so transferring it between species was unimaginable.
But Westwood found that during this parasitic relationship, thousands upon thousands of mRNA molecules were being exchanged between both plants, creating this open dialogue between the species that allows them to freely communicate.
Through this exchange, the parasitic plants may be dictating what the host plant should do, such as lowering its defenses so that the parasitic plant can more easily attack it. Westwood's next project is aimed at finding out exactly what the mRNA are saying.
Using this newfound information, scientists can now examine if other organisms such a bacteria and fungi also exchange information in a similar fashion. His finding could also help solve issues of food scarcity."Parasitic plants such as witchweed and broomrape are serious problems for legumes and other crops that help feed some of the poorest regions in Africa and elsewhere," said Julie Scholes, a professor at the University of Sheffield, U.K., who is familiar with Westwood's work but was not part of this project. "In addition to shedding new light on host-parasite communication, Westwood's findings have exciting implications for the design of novel control strategies based on disrupting the mRNA information that the parasite uses to reprogram the host."Westwood said that while his finding is fascinating, how this is applied will be equally as interesting."The beauty of this discovery is that this mRNA could be the Achilles hill for parasites," Westwood said. "This is all really exciting because there are so many potential implications surrounding this new information."
6) Scientists study 'talking' turtles in Brazilian Amazon:
Turtles are well known for their longevity and protective shells, but it turns out these reptiles use sound to stick together and care for young, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society and other organizations.Scientists working in the Brazilian Amazon have found that Giant South American river turtles actually use several different kinds of vocal communication to coordinate their social behaviors, including one used by female turtles to call to their newly hatched offspring in what is the first instance of recorded parental care in turtles.The study appears in a recent edition of the journal Herpetologica. The authors are: Camila Ferrara of the Wildlife Conservation Society; Richard C. Vogt of the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas de Amazônia, and the Associação de Ictiólogos e Herpetólogos da Amazônia; Renata S Sousa-Lima of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology; Bruno M.R. Tardio of the Instituto Chico Mendez; and Virginia Campos Diniz Bernardes of the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas de Amazônia, and the Associação de Ictiólogos e Herpetólogos da Amazônia.
"These distinctive sounds made by turtles give us unique insights into their behavior, although we don't know what the sounds mean," said Dr. Camila Ferrara, Aquatic Turtle Specialist for the WCS Brazil Program. "The social behaviors of these reptiles are much more complex than previously thought."Some behaviors of the Giant South American river turtle have been well known for some time, including the tendency to aggregate in huge numbers during the nesting season. However, the mechanisms used by turtles to coordinate their activities have yet to be explained. This study focused on the sounds made by the turtles as a possible means of facilitating social behavior.
Working on the Rio Trombetas between 2009 and 2011, the research team captured 270 individual sounds made during 220 hours of recording made with both microphones and hydrophones when the turtles were swimming through the river. The scientists then conducted spectrographic analyses on the repertoire, which they subdivided into six different types of vocalization made by turtles during the nesting season, which begins as the reptiles leave the seasonally flooded forest for nesting beaches along river banks. The scientists also sought to correlate vocalizations with specific behaviors.Sounds made by the turtles while migrating through the river or basking tended to be low frequency sounds, possibly to facilitate contact between turtles over longer distances. Vocalizations made during nesting tended to be higher frequency sounds, possibly because higher frequency sounds travel better in shallow water and in the air.The highest diversity of sounds are used by females about to nest; the researchers theorize that the animals use these sounds to decide on a specific nesting site and to synchronize their movements (the turtles leave the water in a single-file procession).The hatchling turtles themselves make sounds before they hatch and continue to do so as they clamber out of the nest chamber on the river beach. The sounds, the authors speculate, may stimulate group hatching. The females, in turn, vocalize in response to the nestling calls, perhaps guiding the nestlings into the water. These interactions -- the first recorded instance of parental care in turtles -- were featured in a 2012 study appearing in the Journal of Comparative Psychology.
Using sonic transmitters, the team also discovered that the hatchlings remain together and migrate with adult females for more than two months.The Giant South American river turtle is the largest of the side-necked turtle family and grows up to 80 centimeters (nearly three feet) in length. The species is only found in the Amazon River basin and is now threatened by unregulated consumption of the turtles' meat and eggs."Groundbreaking studies such as this one can help us better understand the complex relationships between both individual animals and their environment," said Dr. Julie Kunen, Executive Director of WCS's Latin America and the Caribbean Program. "Protecting the still sizable populations of Giant South American river turtles will also enable us to conserve the behavioral richness of these reptiles for future study."Research on the Giant South American river turtles is part of a new long-term WCS conservation program called Amazon Waters, an initiative focusing on the conservation of aquatic ecosystems and species.
Movies Release This Week:
In The Expendables 3, Barney (Stallone), Christmas (Statham) and the rest of the team comes face-to-face with Conrad Stonebanks (Gibson), who years ago co-founded The Expendables with Barney. Stonebanks subsequently became a ruthless arms trader and someone who Barney was forced to kill… or so he thought. Stonebanks, who eluded death once before, now is making it his mission to end The Expendables -- but Barney has other plans. Barney decides that he has to fight old blood with new blood, and brings in a new era of Expendables team members, recruiting individuals who are younger, faster and more tech-savvy. The latest mission becomes a clash of classic old-school style versus high-tech expertise in the Expendables’ most personal battle yet.
The haunting story of THE GIVER centers on Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), a young man who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Yet as he begins to spend time with The Giver (Jeff Bridges), who is the sole keeper of all the community’s memories, Jonas quickly begins to discover the dark and deadly truths of his community’s secret past. With this newfound power of knowledge, he realizes that the stakes are higher than imagined – a matter of life and death for himself and those he loves most. At extreme odds, Jonas knows that he must escape their world to protect them all – a challenge that no one has ever succeeded at before. THE GIVER is based on Lois Lowry’s beloved young adult novel of the same name, which was the winner the 1994 Newbery Medal and has sold over 10 million copies worldwide.
Zach (Dane DeHaan) is devastated by the unexpected death of his girlfriend, Beth (Aubrey Plaza). But when she miraculously comes back to life, Zach takes full advantage of the opportunity to share and experience all the things he regretted not doing with her before.However, the newly returned Beth isn’t quite how he remembered her and, before long, Zach’s whole world takes a turn for the worse.
An archeologist is convinced the Oseberg Viking ship contains the answer to the mystery of Ragnarok, the end of days in Norse mythology. He mounts an expedition to “No Man’s Land” between Norway and Russia, which holds a secret more terrifying than he could possibly imagine.
When Paleontologist Peter Larson and his team from the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research made the world's greatest dinosaur discovery in 1990, they knew it was the find of a lifetime; the largest, most complete T. rex ever found. But during a ten-year battle with the U.S. government, powerful museums, Native American tribes, and competing paleontologists, they found themselves not only fighting to keep their dinosaur but fighting for their freedom as well.
Political News This Week:
1) Assam-Nagaland border violence toll mounts to 11:
The death toll in firing and arson along the Assam-Nagaland border by alleged miscreants from Nagaland has increased to 11 with the recovery of nine more bodies from the disturbed Uriamghat area of Assam on Friday even as night curfew continued.Assam Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) A P Rout told PTI that all the bodies belonged to the victims of the first day's violence on Tuesday in the trouble-hit areas of Uriamghat in Golaghat district.Two of the nine bodies were recovered from Sukhanjan and Chainpur villages and they were identified as that of Joca Tirkey and Jiten Khalko, Rout said.Another body, identified as that of Nisa Ekka, and six other unnamed bodies were also recovered from the area falling under 'B' Sector of the Assam-Nagaland border, the police said.Two other bodies belonging to Fasai Karmakar and Africa Toppo were also found.
Meanwhile, night curfew from 6 pm to 6 am will continue in the troubled areas of Uriamghat, the ADGP said.Around 200 houses of over 1,000 people were set ablaze by the miscreants, he said adding over 10,000 people have left their homes and are sheltering in 10 relief camps opened in the area.Seven villages, including Chetiagaon, Romanbasti, Chainpur, Ratanpur, Kamphur and Sukhanjan falling under Sector B of the Assam-Nagaland border, have been affected by the violence.Additional para-military forces were rushed to the affected places as only neutral central security forces like the CRPF can be deployed along the disputed inter-state border though state police force has also been kept on alert in case of any eventuality, official sources said.The administration has opened a central control room, comprising Assam Police, Nagaland Police and CRPF, the ADGP added.
Trouble began on Tuesday during a protest-rally when an agitated mob gathered in front of 155 CRPF battalion at Chetiagaon village under Uriamghat police station to protest against the abduction of two boys - Ajoy Gor and Philson Kujur- by suspected miscreants from Nagaland.CRPF personnel resorted to lathicharge to disperse the mob when miscreants from across the border opened fire at the protestors killing one person, identified as 25-year old Fasai Karmakar, on the spot and injured two others.
The Assam-Nagaland border area is divided into six sectors -- A, B, C, D, E and F falling in the districts of Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat and Karbi Anglong for administrative convenience.
2) Pak anti-govt protesters march on; shots fired at Imran:
Determined to oust Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, tens of thousands of protesters on Friday marched towards the capital in two separate convoys as clashes erupted with opposition leader Imran Khan claiming that ruling PML-N activists fired at his vehicle.Two opposition groups, led by cricketer-turned-politician Khan and Canada-based cleric Tahirul Qadri, plan to converge on Islamabad to press Sharif to call an early election little over a year after his landslide victory in the polls.
"The PML-N workers opened fire on my container (vehicle). If I was hit who could stop my party workers from reacting," said Khan, the chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.He urged his party workers to remain peaceful, saying if the martial law was imposed in the wake of the government's actions his party would be blamed."The government is blaming us for the Gujranwala incident. It will also blame us in case martial law is imposed on such acts of the government," Khan said.
Khan also presented video footage of PML-N workers attacking his vehicle. The footage showed PML-N workers pelting stones and shoes on his vehicle with those on board seen ducking.PTI spokesperson Shireen Mazari said at least eight party workers were injured in clashes in Gujranwala.Three of them have been seriously injured and shifted to a hospital. They have suffered head injuries, she said.Mazari alleged that Federal Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir's men were involved in the incident. Gujranwala district is the constituency of Dastgir."Police present there did not act to stop the PML-N activists," she alleged, adding that "we cannot give guarantee of our party workers remaining peaceful if they are attacked en route to Islamabad."
The anti-government protesters of both the groups plan to stage a sit-in in Islamabad to press their claims, at the end of a "long march" -- which set off on a 370-km journey to the country's capital on Thursday.Khan initiated his 'Azadi March' from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore, while Qadri launched his 'Inqelab March' (revolution march) from the Model Town area of the city.
Khan has already underlined his demands, saying Sharif should resign and a caretaker government should be formed for holding a fresh general election in the country.Qadri has also unveiled the goals of his 'revolution' march, saying its fundamental purpose is to restore democracy and alleviate poverty.Khan's convoy had reached Gujranwala, 80 kilometers from Lahore, while Qadri's convoy had reached Jehlum, 180 kilometers from Lahore, after 25 hours of journey.There were conflicting reports as to how the clash in Gujranwala started.Punjab Law Minister Rana Mashhood said the PTI workers attacked the office of the PML-N which led to the clash.
"Our four workers have also been injured and we have closed all PML-N offices on the protest route. We have doubled the police force on the route of the long march of Mr Khan after this incident. We have also asked our party workers to stay calm," Mashhood said.Another senior leader of Sharif's PML-N said there are several local offices of their party on the main road in the Gujranwala city and problem started when PTI workers chanted slogans against the prime minister while passing an office.
"Police took timely action to control the situation and we have asked workers to immediately close down all offices on the road," he said.However, PTI's senior leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi said their protest rally was attacked by Sharif's supporters with stones.Khan has also accused Sharif for the clash between their supporters. The Gujranwala city is considered a stronghold of Sharif.Khan said after the incident that he will file a case against Sharif and his younger brother and chief minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif for any harm to his workers or party leaders.
Former minister and Awami Muslim League leader Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, who is supporting Khan, said he also saw a person firing a pistol.Khan's rally has moved very slowly and is expected to arrive in the capital late Friday night.Qadri's convoy has overtaken Khan and his supporters have been peaceful with no incident of violence reported during their journey.
Both Khan and Qadri had initially planned to take out a joint rally to oust Sharif but differences cropped between the two with Khan leaving his residence without waiting for Qadri which has angered the fiery cleric.Qadri is now planning to hold a separate protest at Zero Point area of the capital while Khan's workers have been allowed to install a stage at Aabpara Chowk in Islamabad.Some of Khan's supporters have already reached Islamabad and are waiting for his arrival.The government has removed all road blocks to facilitate the marchers entry in to the capital.But thousands of police and paramilitary soldiers have been deployed to maintain law and order.Both protest marches are swelling in numbers as they head towards the capital.About 50,000 people have so far joined Khan's convoy while around the same number of people are part of Qadri's march.
3) 3 new slogans Modi raised at Red Fort:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi coined some new slogans on Friday in his 65-minute maiden speech from the ramparts of Red Fort to drive home his point.
Slogan # 1: Make in India
To strengthen the manufacturing sector of the country, the Prime Minister raised the slogan of "Make in India" as he asked domestic and foreign stakeholders to manufacture more and more products in India and sell them across the globe.
"We will have to give stress on manufacturing sector. I want to urge all the countries, come, make in India," he said, adding that the message of "Made in India" should reach all corners of world.
Slogan # 2: Zero Defect, Zero Effect
Modi coined the "zero defect, zero effect" slogan as he spoke of participation of youth in boosting the sector critical to India's economic success.
"When you (youth) decide that you will make at least one thing so that the country does not have to import it. Your policy should be 'zero defect, zero effect'. It means there would be no defect in the products you manufacture and it causes zero or no ill effect to the environment," he said.
Slogan # 3: Mera Kya, Mujhe Kya
Criticising the tendency of people to keep out of a task if it does not give them any personal benefit, Modi said when somebody is approached for a work he asks mera kya (What is in it for me?)". When they find out, there is nothing for them in it, then say mujhe kya (Why should I be involved)."
Modi said if we have to strengthen our national character, then we will have to get rid of this attitude of mera kya, mujhe kya and do things for the benefit of the country.
4) China inaugurates new Tibet rail link close to Sikkim:
China on Friday inaugurated its second railway line in Tibet, built at a cost of $2.16 billion, close to Indian border in Sikkim, enhancing mobility of its military in the remote and strategic Himalayan region.The 253-km railway line links Tibet's provincial capital Lhasa with Xigaze, the second-largest city in Tibet and also the traditional seat of the pro-Beijing Panchen Lama -- stated to be second important Monk in Tibetan hierarchy.
The new line near the Indian border in Sikkim is also close to China's border with Nepal and Bhutan.It reduces the travel time between Lhasa and Xigaze from the current four hours by highway to around two hours, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.It is the second railway line in Tibet and an extension of the Qinghai-Tibet railway, the world's highest rail link connecting China's mainland with Tibet.Construction of the railway line started in 2010 with an investment of 13.28 billion yuan ($2.16 billion).
In addition to this, China last month unveiled plans to construct a new crucial railway line in Tibet close to Arunachal Pradesh, which Chinese analysts say could act as a "bargaining chip" during the border talks with India. The construction of another railway line linking Lhasa to Nyingchi in the east is also expected to start soon, recent official media report said.
Nyingchi is located right close to Arunachal, the nearest area to the border. China claims Arunachal as part of Tibet. The railway expansion will connect, Nepal, Bhutan and India by 2020, the report said.The growing Chinese railway network in Tibet is likely to leverage Beijing's claim over the disputed border region, experts claim.It would also help Chinese military strategically by reducing the travel time to the remote southern Tibetan region, they add.The construction of a railway connecting Xigaze with Gyirong county, close to Nepal, will be constructed under the five year plan ending 2020, an official recently said.Gyirong county has a checkpoint connecting Nepal and Yatung county, close to Indian border near Sikkim and Bhutan, a trade centre bordering India and Bhutan.
5) Pakistani forces violate ceasefire thrice in 21 hours:
In major escalation in border skirmishes, Pakistani troops violated ceasefire for the third time in 21 hours along the Line of Control in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, forcing Army to retaliate.“Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked small arms and automatic weapons firing on Indian posts along LoC in Hamirpur sector of Poonch district around 1730 to 1810 hours today,” Defence PRO Lt Col Manish Mehta said on Thursday.
Army troops retaliated with equal calibre weapons, he said, adding there was no loss of life or injuries to anyone in the firing.Pakistani troops also fired mortar shells in the forward posts and civilians areas, as per the reports. This was the eighth ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops in the past six days and ninth in the month of August.
A defence spokesman said sweets were exchanged at the Chakan-da-Bagh and Hot-spring Mendhar crossing points on Thursday by the troops of both sides on the occasion of Pakistan’s Independence Day.“The exchange of sweets is an appreciated gesture from both the countries and is expected to go a long way in promoting harmony and bonhomie along the Line of Control,” the defence spokesman added.Earlier on Thursday morning, Pakistani troops also resorted to firing in Balakote forward belt in Mendhar sector of Poonch. There was no loss of life or injury to anyone in the firing, the PRO said.On Thursday, Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked small arms and automatic weapons firing on Indian posts along LoC in Hamirpur sector of Poonch.
On August 13, Pakistani troops fired with small arms and automatic weapons on forward posts along LoC in Bhimbher Gali sector of Poonch, injuring one jawan.On August 12, Pakistani rangers resorted to heavy firing with mortar shells, small arms and automatic weapons on five BoPs and civilian areas along the IB in Arnia-R S Pura areas of Jammu. On August 11, two BSF jawans were among four persons injured when Pakistani troops fired with small arms, automatic weapons and mortar shells on 10 border out posts and civilian areas along the IB in Arnia and RS Pura belts of Jammu.On August 10, Pakistani troops targeted Indian forward posts with small arms and automatic weapons along the LoC in Mendhar sector of Poonch, prompting our forces to retaliate.On August 8, Pakistani troops resorted to firing on Indian posts along LoC in Bhimbher Gali sector of Poonch.BSF and Pakistan Rangers had on Friday made a commitment to uphold peace and tranquility on the border and extend all cooperation to each other in dealing with emergent incidents in a proactive and positive manner.However, the ceasefire violations have continued. Security officials feel the firing and shelling in LoC and IB areas in Poonch and Jammu sectors is done to infiltrate armed militants into the state to target Independence Day programmes.
Sports News This Week:
1) India vs England 2014: 5th Test, Day 1 – Live Cricket Score:
Over 45 || Score 90/9
Varun Aaron was the ninth batsman to be dismissed he hit one back straight to Woakes. Woakes, like most of the English seamers has been brilliant with his line and length and was rewarded with the third wicket. Ishant Sharma is the new man in and Dhoni would now attempt some big hits to get his team past 100 runs.
2) Yohann Diniz sets new 50km walk world record:
Yohann Diniz of France smashed the world 50km walk record at the European Athletics Championships on Friday in a time of 3hr 32min 33sec.
The previous record of 3:34:14 was set by Russia`s Denis Nizhegorodov in Cheboksary in May 2008.
The ecstatic 36-year-old Diniz even had time to stop for a few seconds to collect a Portuguese flag from a fan and also waved a French flag as he crossed the finishing line for his third successive European title in Zurich.
In changeable weather conditions, Diniz had to cope with rain, sun and wind as he seized control of the race with 14km to go.
He strode away to finish 3min 48sec in front of Slovakia`s Matej Toth with Russian Ivan Noskov claiming bronze, a further 1min 20sec back. Diniz`s previous best time and the French record dated back to 2009 at Dudince, Slovakia when he clocked 3:38:45
3) Cincinnati Masters: Tommy Robredo stuns Djokovic, Federer sets up Murray showdown:
Tommy Robredo shocked world number one Novak Djokovic Thursday at the Cincinnati Masters, but Roger Federer avoided an upset again Frenchman Gael Monfils.
Spain`s Robredo, seeded 16th in the US Open tune-up, sent top-seeded Djokovic packing 7-6 (8/6), 7-5, the defeat coming a week after the world number one Serb was beaten in the third round at Toronto.
The Wimbledon champion now goes into the US Open, the final Grand Slam of the year which starts on August 25, well short of matches and confidence.
Second-seeded Federer, a five-time Cincinnati champion, held off Monfils 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.He booked a tough quarter-final against eighth-seeded Scot Andy Murray, who battled more than two hours against the huge serve of John Isner, finally dispatching the American 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).
Federer had a rare show of temper late in the match, arguing with the chair umpire over a decision not to call on electronic line-calling on a particular point.But Federer quickly recovered his poise, clinching the match with a service winner after breaking Monfils in the penultimate game."I`m just happy the way I`m playing right now," Federer said. "It was much better than the last couple of matches."I was hitting good forehands, not making so many mistakes, returning better," he added. "So there was a lot of positives out in the match. Sometimes frustration, but sometimes that`s what Gael does to you."Djokovic, who was married last month and is soon to become a father, said it wasn`t a question of the new elements in his life weighing on his tennis.
"I just lost the match," he said. "It was bad. Many, many things are not clicking these two weeks on hard courts. It`s unfortunate, but it`s more than obvious I`m not playing even close to what I`m supposed to play."I have to keep on working and trying to get better for the US Open. I just don`t feel comfortable. That`s it."Robredo was thrilled to win only his second match in eight encounters with a world number one player. He beat then-top ranked Lleyton Hewitt at Roland Garros 11 years ago."It`s amazing to be here playing and to beat the number one, I`m more than happy," said the 32-year-old Robredo, who next faces sixth-seeded compatriot David Ferrer -- a 7-5, 6-0 winner over Mikhail Youzhny.Murray, in search of his first title since Wimbledon in 2013, has struggled to regain top form since his return from back surgery in January."It`s a very important match for me to win," he said. "I had lost a few close matches over the last few months. It was important for me to come through."
Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka, the third seed, rallied to beat Croatian Marin Cilic 3-6, 6-0, 6-1.He`ll play France`s Julien Benneteau, who beat Jerzy Janowicz 7-5, 6-1.Fifth seed Milos Raonic made amends with his 30th ace on match point after earlier double-faulting three times while serving for victory.The Canadian defeated American Steve Johnson 6-7 (7/9), 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) and next faces Italian 15th seed Fabio Fognini. Fognini beat Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.In women`s action in the combined ATP and WTA event, defending champion Serena Williams continued her march through the draw, beating Italian 13th seed Flavia Pennetta 6-2, 6-2.Williams next plays eighth seed Jelena Jankovic, who beat Sloane Stephens 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.
Also through was world number two and second seed Simona Halep, a 6-4, 7-5 winner against Czech Lucie Safarova."Today was much better than my first match here," said Halep, winner in Bucharest last month and runner-up to Maria Sharapova at Roland Garros. "I was happy to win in two sets, since she was up 5-4.Halep earned a mouth-watering rematch with fifth-seeded Sharapova, who beat fellow Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).
Sharapova had to rally from a break down three times in the second set but managed to finish it off in two.Ukrainian teenager Elina Svitolina, who took out double Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova in the second round, claimed her second seeded victim with a defeat of Spain`s number 15 Carla Suarez Navarro 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.She`ll next face former world number one Ana Ivanovic, a 6-2, 2-6, 6-3 winner over Svetlana Kuznetsova.Fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland cruised past Germany`s Sabine Lisicki 6-1, 6-1 and will take on Denmark`s Caroline Wozniacki, a 7-5, 6-2 winner over sixth-seeded German Angelique Kerber.
4) I'm paying for a mistake I made: Luis Suarez:
Luis Suarez trained with his Barcelona team-mates for the first time on Friday and then admitted he was still paying for his "mistake" in biting Italy`s Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup.After getting the green light from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), the Uruguayan striker was the centre of attention as he took part in his first training session with the Catalan club.
But afterwards, interviewed wearing a Barcelona shirt, he told the club website: "I`m paying for a mistake I made and one I have apologised for, but I have to forget about all this."I am only thinking about the future, which is at FC Barcelona, the club who I dreamed of playing for."After the uncertainty of the past weeks, Suarez stressed: "I am really happy to feel like a footballer again, and to be with my team-mates. I just couldn`t wait to get started."Suarez took an active part in the session with the main group under the watchful eye of coach Luis Enrique.On Thursday, the CAS upheld Suarez`s four-month ban from playing in competitive games as well as his nine-match international suspension, but it did allow him to train and play in unofficial matches.
And that means he could make his debut against Mexican club Leon in the Gamper Trophy, the traditional curtain-raiser to the season at the Camp Nou.
Suarez has reportedly been training on his own in an unknown location in Catalonia since completing his 95 million euros (£75 million, $127 million) move to the Camp Nou from Liverpool last month.
He will be available to play in competitive matches from Saturday, October 25, meaning his official debut could come in the first Clasico of the campaign against Real Madrid.Suarez has never explained his propensity to bite opponents.He earned a 10-game ban for biting Chelsea`s Branislav Ivanovic in 2013, after being sidelined for seven matches with Dutch club Ajax in 2010 for the same offence against PSV Eindhoven`s Otman Bakkal.Suarez will be presented to the Barça fans on Monday before the Joan Gamper Trophy match and on Tuesday he will be presented to the media at a press conference.
In Friday`s training session, as well as Suarez, Brazilian Neymar completed the full session, even though he has not received the medical all clear after suffering a fractured vertebrae in the World Cup quarter-final against Colombia.
5) Ferrari boss dismisses suggestions about Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen leaving:
The suggestions about Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen leaving Ferrari at the end of the year have been reportedly dismissed by president Luca Di Montezemolo.
Alonso has just two podium finishes from 11 races in 2014, while Raikkonen has a best result of sixth place. And the team`s failure to produce a winning car led to speculation over both men.
But Di Montezemolo said that they are lucky to have two great champions, who are working with the whole team to get back to being competitive again, The BBC reported.
Raikkonen joined Ferrari for the second time in his career at the end of 2013, having won the world title with the Scuderia in 2007, but has picked up just 27 points so far, triggering reports that the Finn could retire. He is, however, under contract at Ferrari until the end of 2015, with an option on his side to extend it to 2016.Alonso, who is also contracted until the end of 2016, is frustrated by Ferrari`s continuing inability to provide him with a car which is competitive enough to fight consistently for race victories and the title, and is a target for McLaren.Di Montezemolo said on the Ferrari website that as is the case every summer, there is unfounded gossip about alleged problems with senseless rumours bandied about, such as the ones relating to Alonso`s contract.He added that they know that the summer heat always produces silly stories. Di Montezemolo said that their drivers must now relax in order to return in top form.The Ferrari president said that the season is still long and they need Alonso and Raikkonen to be in great shape.
Alonso has finished in the points at every race so far this season and sits fourth in the drivers` standings, 87 points behind leader Nico Rosberg of Mercedes, the report added.
Book Of This Week:
One Life Is Not Enough - An Autobiography by K. Natwar Singh:
I remember how each of Sonia's speeches was an exercise that would take six to eight hours. Sometimes, these agonizing 'speech sessions' lasted till midnight. There were occasions when she and I would be alone, working on them. She would read the speech aloud, I would time it. It would then be translated into Hindi. The Hindi version would then be transliterated into English and printed out in bold letters. This situation did not last long.
Her English is near perfect; Hindi is the problem – she cannot speak the language without a written script in front of her. To my suggestion to her that she learn by heart a chaupai or two of Tulsidas's or Kabir's dohas and use them in her speeches, she threw her hands up. 'I go blank even with a written text. You want me to say something extempore? Forget it.'
Many senior Congressmen sent suggestions and drafts for her speeches; seldom were these used. Jairam Ramesh became a regular presence at the marathon 'speech sessions'. Being a wizard with the computer, he was useful. He is good company. His brain is razor sharp but his wit occasionally got him into trouble. At times I was the target of his wit. Sonia used to enjoy my discomfiture.
By now I was meeting Sonia frequently. I reminded her that her family had an international constituency which had been neglected since Rajiv's death. She must revive it. She asked how I would achieve this. I told her that with the assistance of my erstwhile colleagues in the Ministry of External Affairs, I would ensure that visiting Foreign Ministers and Prime Ministers called on her. After all, as head of the Congress Party, she was the de facto Leader of Opposition.
I sounded out my friend Brajesh Mishra on this. He was not dismissive, but made no commitment. After some months, the MEA began to include a call on the Congress President in the programme of visiting ministers and Prime Ministers.
To begin with, Sonia did not look forward to these meetings. 'What do I say to them?' she would ask. My advice was, 'Listen. You will gather much information.' I used to be present at most of the meetings between 1999 and 2005, arriving at 10 Janpath a few minutes before the visiting dignitary. Initially, Sonia would turn towards me with embarrassing regularity. This did not go unnoticed. I asked her to try not to do so. As time went by, the media's interest in Sonia's exchanges with these visitors increased.
On 14 November 1998, I had bypass surgery at the Escorts Heart Institute. Throughout my stay in hospital, Sonia telephoned Dr Trehan, my heart surgeon, inquiring about my medical condition. She visited the hospital twice. Her genuine concern meant much to Hem and me. On several occasions, she would telephone late at night to ask if I was watching a particular TV programme. My wife, too, received such calls.
9 May 2002 was the darkest day in my family's life. Our beautiful daughter, Ritu, passed away. The family was shattered. The moment I informed Sonia, she came immediately to our house. She spent many hours with Hem, Jagat and me. She shared our grief. That we shall never forget.
Sonia used to worry a lot about the security of her grandchildren, as well as Priyanka's safety. I promised to speak to Brajesh Mishra and did sound him out later. He promised to do the needful discreetly, as Sonia had wished.
My growing proximity to Sonia could not go unnoticed. I was at 10 Janpath almost every day. I was seen as one of her closest confidants and some 'well-wishers' pumped me, saying, 'You are the best troubleshooter she has.'
My reply was: 'Nonsense.'
The political discussions between Sonia and I were exclusive, serious and to the point. Our informal chat sessions, though, were a delight. On returning from one of my trips abroad, 'I missed you,' were her opening words.
Sonia was becoming less diffident in public, but still had a long way to go. In a male-dominated society, she could never relax. Even in the Working Committee meetings, she was taut, and spoke very little.
Jairam once invited Sonia's wrath for an indiscretion. She refused to see him. Banishment from the darbar was the ultimate manifestation of her displeasure. Jairam could not take it beyond a week. He came to see me, distraught and anguished. 'Sir, if she does not see me, I don't know what I will do,' he declared. I told him, 'Ramesh, whatever you wish to do, please don't do it in this room.' I asked him to calm down, assuring him that I would speak to Sonia. I did, telling her about Jairam's agitation. Sonia eventually relented and Jairam lived happily ever after.
Natwar Singh (born May 16, 1931) is an Indian politician, a former senior bureaucrat, a former Union cabinet minister, and a writer.
Singh was selected into the Indian Foreign Service, one of the most competitive and prestigious government services, in 1953. In 1984, he resigned from the service to contest elections as a member of the Congress party. He won the election and served as a union minister of state until 1989. Thereafter, he had a patchy political career until being made India's foreign minister in 2004. However, 18 months later, he had to resign under a cloud after the U.Ns Volcker committee named both him and the Congress party to which he belonged as beneficieries of illegal payoffs in the Iraqi oil scam